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Oriental Institute Publications (OIP)

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OIP 93.

Medinet Habu, Vol. VII: The Temple Proper, Pt. III: The Third Hypostyle Hall and All Rooms Accessible from It with Friezes of Scenes from the Roof Terraces and Exterior Walls of the Temple

The Epigraphic Survey

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The epigraphic record of the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III is completed. With the publication of this seventh volume the greatest and most painstaking epigraphic project ever undertaken in Egypt comes to an end. While excavations are likely to receive widespread attention, appreciation of the equally important, though less spectacular, epigraphic work is comparatively small. Its significance was properly conceived by the late James Henry Breasted, for whom the accurate recording of extant inscriptions was one of the main aims of the Oriental Institute at its founding. Copies of hieroglyphic inscriptions had been made since the days of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt, but despite their merits those were not facsimiles, i.e., records which represent an inscription in exacting detail. When the Oriental Institute began its ambitious program no one could envisage the difficulties the epigraphic recording of a major monument would bring. Although it took long to complete the task, the accomplishments justify the efforts put into the project. Not only has the Oriental Institute provided a model publication of one of the most important monuments preserved from ancient Egypt, it also has set the standards for epigraphic recording. Volume VII records the scanty remains of the westernmost part of the Temple with the "Holy of Holies" and its surrounding rooms. In addition, it also contains drawings of two series of scenes depicting various deities of Egypt in a kind of "pantheon." The one is on the inner faces of the outer walls of the Temple Proper, the other on the exterior of the outer walls. The editors used this final volume to include key-plans for the recording of the Temple in the seven volumes, which should prove most useful. Equally welcome is a concordance of the "Belegstellen" to the Erman-Grapow, Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache with the publication of Medinet Habu. The completion of the recording of the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III is a festive occasion not only for those directly connected with the project, but for the entire field of Egyptology. Gratitude and congratulations are to be extended to those who have spent time and energy to complete this record, and also to those who have made it possible. The Oriental Institute with its Epigraphic Survey has greatly helped the study of ancient Egypt and hopefully will continue it by recording the other monuments at Medinet Habu in like fashion. [From a review by Hans Goedicke in the American Journal of Archaeology 69 (1965) 271-72].

  • Oriental Institute Publications 93
  • Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964
  • ISBN 0-226-62196-0
  • Pp. xi, 16 figures, 108 plates
  • Large portfolio 15 x 19 in / 38 x 49 cm
  • Out of Print

Revised: September 4, 2009

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